Rules for flying: how do you survive the departure lounge?

Like so many of us in the event industry, I’m a pretty regular flier. And it occurs to me, as I sit waiting for a flight to Scotland in the departure lounge of Gatwick’s North Terminal, that over the years I have built up a series of rules for flying.

They’re my own personal rules, I don’t expect anyone else to do these things. However, but they are a very important part of the airport routine and must be obeyed at all times.

Let me give you an example: I never use the moving walkways. The distance from security to the gate can often feel like miles, so the airport provides long, flat escalators to help us on our way. However, I never use them, as I figure that if I’m going to be spending a few hours sitting down on a plane, I might as well get some exercise in on the way to and from the aeroplane. Plus those things go really slowly, it’s usually quicker walking. I can’t remember when I started doing this, but now it’s an integral part of my airport routine.

Another one; I always buy a chocolate bar at the airport just before boarding. Usually one of those chocolate brownie bars from Pret a Manger. This started after going on my first few fam trips and realising that on a fam you can never be fully sure where your next meal is coming from, so it’s always useful to have an emergency snack. I almost always end up bringing the brownie back home with me a few days later, but I can’t go anywhere now without my emergency chocolate.

Speaking of food, if I have a morning flight, I always go to Wagamama for breakfast. If that seems like a strange choice for breakfast, well, it’s supposed to. Everyone goes to Wetherspoons or Jamie’s Italian for their pre-flight bacon fix, and they’re always heaving. Whereas an airport Wagamama at breakfast time is an oasis of calm and quiet. They do a full English, of course, but the best thing they do is something called a Sausage Katsu Stack, which is essentially a huge Spam fritter with poached eggs, it’s outstanding. (I shouldn’t have told you about this one, it’ll be rammed next time i go)

It’s not just me has these rules, either. A few years ago on a fam to Monaco I met a woman who had a rule that when she got off a plane, she would try to overtake at least 15 people before getting to passport control. (And no, she wasn’t just trying to get away from me, very funny.)

There is comfort in having a routine, so I’m inclined to think that these little rituals are all designed to make the trip through the airport slightly more bearable. Or maybe I’m just strange, it could be that too.

Whichever it is, I know I’m not the only one with my own personal travelling rules. So come on, let’s be having yours. Reply in the comments or email them to, I really want to hear what you get up to. And don’t worry, we won’t laugh… much!